By RikkiLynn Shields, Editor
Manhattan College’s own Basketball Hall of Famer, Larry Lembo ‘65, was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame this past October 3rd.
Lembo graduated as MC’s all-time leading scorer (1,443), a title in which he held for 13 years, and his career scoring average of 21.9 points per game is still the second-best in Manhattan basketball history.
As a child growing up in Ridgewood, Queens, Lembo could always be found playing sports. When he entered Bishop Loughlin High School, he played baseball and basketball. Lappas was classmates with Rudy Guiliani ’65, also a former Jasper.
“I always had great parental support with all of my academic and athletic endeavors.” Lembo said.
When it came time to decide on a college, Lembo chose to study physical education here at Manhattan College, and was also offered a full scholarship from former coach Ken Norton.
“I wanted to sign as a professional baseball player out of high school with the Cleveland Indians with a moderate bonus, but my parents said ‘No, college first.” Lembo said.
Regardless of his dreams, Lembo made the most out of his Manhattan College experience. For Lembo, playing two sports for four years was not only time consuming, but also challenging. All of of Lembo’s professors helped him a great deal while he was here, and he is thankful for the great support system that he had.
“The four years of baseball and basketball at Manhattan were the fastest four years of my life. I loved every minute of it. I made great friends and teammates, and had wonderful professors and athletic coaches to learn form.”
Lembo was a college basketball referee for thirty-eight years, with four final appearances. He worked many major Division I conferences, with twenty-five NIT Appearances and twelve NIT finals. He also has the opportunity to travel to Japan and Italy as an international official.
Lembo was selected by the New York Knicks in the fourth round of the 1965 NBA Draft before entering his career as a college basketball official. He went on to work for NCAA Final Fours as a referee (1980, 1983, 1988, 1989) and was inducted into the Manhattan College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1985.
“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame at Manhattan was truly the highlight my career. It is always a treat to go back to campus and see everyone. Having my name hanging from the rafters is so special.”
Lembo was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on September 16th, 2017, and the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame on October 3rd, 2017.
“Being recently inducted into these hall of fame’s has been extra special because my five grandchildren have been able to be part of the events. TO see their joy for me is something that I will cherish forever.”
Having retired after fifty years of service as a professor emeritus from Queensborough Community College, Lembo now refers to himself as a “full-time granddad and golf fanatic.”
“My advice to any student is to always make the most of your experience and take advantage of the wonderful faculty and staff at whatever college you attend. Manhattan was special for me because the Christian Brothers were so dedicated to the academic well-being of the students. They would always say ‘Study first, and you would enjoy your athletic endeavors much more! For many of you, life after athletics will only be worth it if you love your degree.” I never forgot that, and I used it myself throughout my teaching career.”